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Growth provides Richmond prosperous path

Don Fennell   Feb-15-2018

The Canada Line has sparked robust growth in Downtown Richmond.

Photo by Canadian Pacific via flickr.com


Richmond is building for tomorrow.

Historically rooted in fishing, agriculture, shipping and aviation, the city has changed dramatically in the last half century.

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Attracting migration from many countries, the city’s cultural diversity has enriched the community that today is poised to become a major regional hub.

With more than $2.4 billion in new development during the current council term, Richmond continues to enjoy sustained growth as noted by Mayor Malcolm Brodie in his annual address on Feb. 1.

“Our Official Community Plan provides a comprehensive blueprint for Richmond’s future,” he said during a Richmond Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“Sustainable growth within the highly dense city centre is based on transit-oriented development while our single family neighbourhoods, farmland, open space and natural environment are preserved,” said Brodie.

Added Brodie: “The development community has embraced our vision as they make significant investments in Richmond. Total construction value of building permits for 2017 was $709 million, the third-highest year ever.”

The Canada Line is “the biggest single factor” in Richmond being able to continue to enjoy such robust growth, he said.

“The whole plan was to grow the city centre around transit-oriented development,” he said. “Because of the Canada Line we’ve been able to realize that vision, basically from city hall to River Rock.”

Brodie reviewed a number of other recent accomplishments and future plans during his annual address.

Highlights include:

• Completion this spring of an ambitious, decade-long public safety building program that has included construction of five new fire halls and purchase and retrofit of the Richmond Community Safety Building, home to the Richmond RCMP detachment. All the new buildings are post-disaster rated to ensure continuity of public safety services after a significant earthquake.

• Further expansion of the Richmond RCMP complement with funding provided for an additional 16 new officers this year. In total, council has now funded 40 additional police officers and six municipal police support staff positions in the current council term.

• The opening of three new child care facilities in recent years with a five more under development. These new facilities will add an estimated 233 licensed child care spaces for the Richmond community.

• The opening of the Storeys affordable housing complex in late 2017, which has become a national model for multi-agency cooperation in meeting social housing needs. The project was built through the city’s Affordable Housing Strategy, which has led to construction of hundreds of new units of affordable housing throughout Richmond.

• Richmond’s numerous sustainability initiatives have contributed to an overall six per cent reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade, despite a corresponding seven per cent growth in population, saving $13 million in residential energy costs in one year alone. Civic energy savings include a cumulative reduction of over 8,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to taking 2,500 cars off Richmond roads and reduction of $3 million in total operational costs.

With a current population of 218,000, Richmond is the fourth-largest city in Metro Vancouver. Its population is projected to grow to 275,000 by 2041. The regional population is expected to grow from 2.4 million to 3.4 million during the same period.


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